Om Puri

  • Actor, Narrator, Voice

Oct 18, 1950  in Ambala, Haryana, India

Also Known as: Om Rajesh Puri

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Om Puri was an Indian actor who had appeared in several Indian, Pakistani, Hollywood, and British films. He was amongst the few commercial actors who, during the 80s, ventured into art-house films such as Ardh Satya (1982), and Mirch Masala (1986) and found success there as well. Puri appeared in several successful movies such as Aakrosh (1980), Arohan (1982), Ghayal (1990) and Maachis (1996). He had also been awarded India’s fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri.

Early Life
Om Puri was born into a Punjabi Hindu family in Haryana. He graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India. Puri later enrolled at the National School of Drama and was an alumnus of the class of 1973.

Personal Life
Om Puri was married to Nandita for a period of 20 years - from 1993 to 2013. The couple separated in 2013 and have a son, Ishaan. Om Puri passed away in the year 2017, due to a heart attack.

Movie Career
Om Puri made his acting debut with the Marathi movie Ghashiram Kotwal in 1976. Directed by K. Hariharan and Mani Kaul, 16 graduates from the FTII also worked on the movie then. A couple of years later, he appeared in the role of a Marxist man in the movie Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978) directed by Saeed Akhtar Mirza. After appearing in another movie directed by Saaed Mirza, Albert Pinto Ko Ghussa Kyoon Aata Hai (1980), he was cast as Lahanya Bhiku, a victimized tribal, in the arthouse movie Aakrosh (1980), directed by Govind Nihalani. The movie went on to win six Filmfare awards with Om Puri winning the Best Supporting Actor award.

Puri’s next acclaimed role came with the movie Disco Dancer in 1982, wherein he portrayed the role of Jimmy’s (Mithun Chakraborthy) manager. The actor portrayed unconventional roles with ease and in the same year, he appeared in the movie Arohan for which he won a National Film Award for Best Actor. In the following year, he followed this up with another compelling performance in arthouse movie Ardh Satya (1983) directed by Govind Nihalani. Ardh Satya went on to become a landmark film in the Indian film industry and is touted to be one of the best made cop films of Indian cinema. For his riveting performance as Sub inspector, Anant Velankar, Puri bagged his second consecutive Best Actor National Award. It turned out to be career defining role for the actor. After the success of Ardh Satya, he starred in the black comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) directed by Kundan Shah. In the following years, Puri appeared in movies such as Giddh (1984), Mirch Masala (1985), and Aghaat (1985).

In 1990, Puri delivered another power packed performance in the movie Ghayal, which also stars Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Seshadri. The movie turned out to be one of biggest hits of the year and won seven Filmfare awards. Puri, who portrayed the character of ACP Joe D’Souza was also nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting actor. He also appeared in the romantic horror American film Wolf (1994) which also starred Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and James Spader.

In the subsequent years, the actor gave memorable performances in several movies and earned Filmfare Award Best Supporting Actor nominations for Maachis (1996), Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997) and Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998). Not just in Hindi movies but Om Puri also appeared in a few South Indian films and was equally successful there. In 1999, he portrayed the role of a strict police officer in the Kannada movie A.K. 47, which went on to become a huge commercial hit.

In the 90s, Puri also gained international recognition with his performances in movies such as My Son the City of Joy (1992), The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), Fanatic (1997), and East is East (1999). While the veteran actor has been appreciated for his unconventional roles, Puri also displayed equal finesse in essaying comedic characters in movies such as Chachi 420 (1997), Hera Pheri (2000), Chor Machaye Shor (2002) and Malamaal Weekly (2006). Om Puri also appeared in remake of the movie Don (1978). The remake, Don: The Chase Begins (2006) featured Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role while Om Puri portrayed the character of CBI Officer Vishal Malik. He reprised his character in the sequel Don 2: The King is Back (2011) as well.

In 2016, he gave voice to the character of Bagheera in the Hindi version of the animated movie The Jungle Book, which broke several box office records at the time of its release. Some of his other 2016 releases include Ghayaal Once Again (2016) and Mirzya. Om Puri’s 2017 releases include movies like The Ghazi Attack, Viceroy's House, A Death in the Gunj, Tubelight and Mr. Kabaadi.

Television Career
The actor also appeared in several television series like Kakkaji in Kakkaji Kaheen (1988), Mr. Yogi (1989) and in Govind Nihalani’s Tamas (1987). He also gave voice to the character of Bagheera in the popular animated TV.